Dvorák: Rusalka / Mackerras, Fleming, Heppner, Et Al

Release Date: 10/20/1998
Label: Decca
Catalog Number: 2894605682
Number of Discs: 3

Physical Format:

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Notes and Editorial Reviews
This recording was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for "Best Opera Recording."
Antonin Dvorak wrote ten operas before he struck gold with 'Rusalka,' his most widely performed opera. A victim of mediocre librettos, Dvorák encountered a similar dilemma with the librettist of 'Rusalka,' Jaroslav Kvapil. The saving grace was a strong story, with a framework that has worked successfully in operas throughout the centuries: the fairy tale. Because the libretto was somewhat difficult to set, Dvorák relied on the orchestration to set the mood of his characters, and created shimmering melodies at times without respect to the text.
Despite these challenges, this recording of 'Rusalka' ranks as one of the best, due largely to an incredibly strong cast led by conductor Charles Mackerras. Renée Fleming is a luminous Rusalka, rivaled only by Gabriela Benackova, who has both recorded and performed the opera many times. Ben Heppner as the prince conjures just the right amount of sympathy often disregarded by singers of this role while Franz Hawlata creates a unique characterization of the Water Goblin/Vodnik, at times conniving, at other times compassionate. Dolora Zajick, as Jezibaba the witch makes a potentially stereotypical character three dimensional. The famous "Mesicku na nebi hlubokem," gorgeously sung by Fleming, is an obvious highlight. A must-have recording.
Works on This Recording
1. Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203 by Antonín Dvořák
Performer: Zdena Kloubová (Soprano), Renée Fleming (Soprano), Franz Hawlata (Baritone), Eva Urbanová (Soprano), Lívia Aghová (Soprano), Hannah Minutillo (Soprano), Dana Buresova (Mezzo Soprano), Dolora Zajic (Mezzo Soprano), Ivan Kusnjer (Tenor), Ben Heppner (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1900 ; Bohemia
1. Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203 by Antonín Dvořák
Performer: Franz Hawlata (Baritone), Dolora Zajic (Mezzo Soprano), Dana Buresova (Mezzo Soprano), Lívia Aghová (Soprano), Hannah Minutillo (Soprano), Zdena Kloubová (Soprano), Renée Fleming (Soprano), Eva Urbanová (Soprano), Ben Heppner (Tenor), Ivan Kusnjer (Tenor)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1900 ; Bohemia
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